Pa. House sends teen driving bill to governor

    A bill to impose new limits on teenage drivers in Pennsylvania is on its way to the desk of Gov. Tom Corbett.

    The state House Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to limit the number of teen drivers’ passengers and increase the hours of experience they need with a learner’s permit before getting a junior license.

    For the first six months, teen drivers without adults in the car would only be allowed to have one friend or similar person under age 18 as a passenger if they’re not from the driver’s own household.

    Bill sponsor Rep. Kathy Watson of Bucks County says the most important part of the legislation is the provision that requires all drivers and passengers under the age of 18 to wear a seat belt.

    “Fifty percent of that age group who are killed in a traffic crash are killed because they’re ejected from a vehicle,” she said. “They weren’t wearing a seat belt. If we can stop that, we actually will save lives.”

    Meanwhile Rep. Josh Shapiro of Montgomery County was among lawmakers  unhappy that there is still no compromise on a related measure that would ban texting and the use of handheld cell phones while driving.

    “We have seen accidents on our roads in Pennsylvania and certainly in communities all across our great commonwealth yet this House under the majority leader’s leadership has continued to shelve that bill,” Shapiro said.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal